Exercising a dog on a lead – how hard is it?

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This topic contains 19 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  kat 6 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    We have a couple of German shorthaired pointer pups 4 months old. They are enthusiastic, energetic and a bit bitey in the way pups are. They are lovely and won’t hurt you but they might enthusiastically nip you or scratch you with their sharp little puppy claws – both of which are completely unacceptable behaviours. As dog owners we fully understand we have to teach these pups good manners and acceptable behaviours – dogs should be controlled by their owners not the other way round (although sometimes it’s hard not to be coerced by them). Running free is a luxury we have as we have fields and we let them run loose – would I do it in public? not until their manners are excellent and we have sorted out their recall, neither of which we have achieved yet – dogs jumping and barking at strangers in public places counts as an out of control dog in my book – there are no excuses the owner is responsible not the victim. If they do it to people my guess is they’ll do it to livestock and that only ends with tragic results.



    I agree dog owners need to take more responsibility for their dogs.

    I’ve been attacked quite a few times now. One was by a neighbour’s dog who I had walked near to for many years speaking to the owners with it running about when I was out walking. One day though it went for me and bit into both my legs. Apparently, with hindsight the owners think it had decided the walking area was an extension of its garden and so was defending the owner’s property.

    Unfortunately went on to attack another two folk who were just near it’s house, but the local dog warden and the police are not taking any action which I do not understand. Years on I still look over my shoulder when I hear his growl/bark to see if he is out running.

    Should I change my walking area? If so that is all the local off road areas I walk/cycle as most dogs are routinely walked off lead around me. Most are little or no problem though a few are a nuisance when they jump up and dirty your trousers for example.

    Some owners though are not interested in controlling their dog(s) as they perceive that no harm is being done. Change how I respond – sure have and am now more defensive and assume that any snarling running dog may bite and so prepared to defend myself. Reduces the enjoyment of a walk in the countryside though even if the dog is friendly overall.

    When an owner gets all defensive though (I have even been threatened by an owner as it was his view that it was my fault for being there on a public track when his dog tried to nip my ankles) it really spoils my trip out.



    Let’s flip this on its head slightly….

    When walking in the woods or anywhere ‘open’, I see kids or another dog on a lead, I whistle Lily (a sprocker spaniel, smaller than ANY child), she comes back, goes on the lead. She’s fine and is happy enough there with me. The woods is a natural open environment which is more suited to her, than any human. Yet I put her on a lead so she doesn’t approach anyone that may be worried.

    Yet, I walk in an urban (human) environment, in a street or if I need to go past some shops. People THEN think it’s perfectly acceptable to come running up to her waving hands and loudly ‘AWWWW’ing? Luckily, 99% of the time, she’s used to it and likes the attention. But she has got scared before, and cowered under my legs!

    Ever since a pup, I’ve gently pulled her tail and played with her food, so I’m 99.9% sure she hasn’t got a nasty bone in her body.

    But she is fullt expected (as most of these comments display), to be on a lead and never to approach anybody. YET, it’s perfectly acceptable for people to approach her when she’s on a lead and feeling vulnerable?!

    Think about it.



    What Jenny said – they do get more exercise off-lead, but only a selfish arse doesn’t get their dog under control when required. My dog’s quite reactive to other dogs when she’s on her lead, so I keep her out of the way of other dogs and focus on distracting her, not helped when other dog owners let their dogs bound up to her – at which point she goes bananas and they look really offended. It’s not very helpful. Just because I love my dog, doesn’t mean everyone else has to.

    Sadly @nomad, with my dog training hat on, you’re likely reinforcing the behaviour of your dog. Your dog would benefit from socialisation training and positive reinforcement to ignore other dogs while on the lead. Your distraction and concern gives your dog reason to feel something is wrong.

    I’m one of the minority that believes it is up to the owner to make sure their dog is well socialised and not up to other owners whose dogs are socialised to assume everyone else’s are not. Sorry. Dogs naturally are social beings. If they can’t handle other dogs… there’s only one reason.



    Often the reason some dogs cannot be trusted off the lead is simply because they are never allowed off the lead. The key is during puppy hood to try to trust the dog. The more time off the lead (in responsible places) the better. The dog learns that being off lead is the norm and on lead the exception. This combined with recall whistle training done in the correct way and utilised only when necessary (not the classic… FIDO FIDO FIDO COME HERE every five seconds that the dog soon learns to ignore) will make the dog a trustworthy and more enjoyable animal to walk.

    I have a whippet. Typically one of the least naturally trustworthy dogs off lead. They are bred to chase. I spent months on her as a puppy. She is fully whistle trained and is fully trained to heel, wait and leave.

    It is not easy, and it takes hours of patience. Some dogs require treats every single time the perform a ‘wait’, a recall or any command (Great Dane, Whippet (I have to carry a tin with me)), some are happy to please and easy to train (Labs, Spaniels). The choice of dog you own should be at least in part influenced by how confident you are you can train it.

    But when anyone claims a ‘dog cant be trusted off the lead’ I’m afraid my brain flicks to the high probability that that is because the owner has not spent the considerable time and effort to make sure it can. And this is why I think people should be required to go to dog training classes with their dog as well as dog behavioural theory classes before owning a dog.

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